The CAI said the entries for the seven-day tournament have crossed 400 and they are expecting at least another 100 entries at the venue on Wednesday, which would make it the biggest tournament in terms of participation.
"We are expecting 500-plus participants. The entries have crossed 400 and at least 100 will get registered tomorrow at the venue. This will be the biggest tournament in the country till now. We are having a total prize purse of Rs 15 lakh with the winner getting Rs 3 lakh. So it will be the highest prize money tournament," CAI general secretary Mahesh Ved told a press conference here.
"Runners-up will get Rs 1.5 lakh, Rs 1 lakh for third, Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000 for fourth and fifth," he said.
The association formed last month here by some former All India Chess Federation officials with an aim to promote chess at grassroot level, accused the current AICF set-up of "looting money" from players.
"The AICF will charge Rs 4,000 for even Under-7 tournaments and the prize money would be mere Rs 50,000 while they were getting minimum Rs 10 lakh plus grant from government and money from sponsors. We are charging just Rs 1,000 for every player and we are giving Rs 15 lakh," CAI president Naveen Kumar Wal said.
Wal said the tournament would have got even more entries, including Grandmasters and International Masters had not the AICF tried to scuttle it by threatening players not to participate.
"The AICF had tried every means to scuttle it. They have threatened suspension to players registered with them if they take part in the tournament. But we have every right to organise a tournament. We want upliftment of chess and we are not doing anything against them (AICF)," he said.
"We have offered Rs 25,000 appearance fee for every Indian Grandmaster and Rs 10,000 for International Masters but they can't participate due to AICF threat," he added.
Wal also claimed that United States-based World Chess Federation Inc, a parallel body of FIDE, has by themselves granted recognition to CAI without their application.
"We had not applied for recognition but the World Chess Federation Inc has sent their recognition to us. What can we do we can't say we don't want their recognition? But we are following FIDE rules in our tournament," said Wal.
The 10-round tournament will have prize of Rs 4,000 for even the 80th-place finisher. There are five prizes only for women starting from Rs 5,000.